Things I Am Certain Of


Growing up, I was certain about a lot of things.

I was certain that every Friday my Dad would come home from work with a "Friday treat" for my brothers and me. Whether it be a Kit-Kat, a pack of Big League Chew, or the latest Disney movie – we could always count on Dad to bring home the goods on Friday night.

I was certain that my parents would absolutely let me chew on a piece of pork for 2 hours straight because "nobody leaves the dinner table until their plate is cleaned!" Same goes for glasses of milk.


I was certain that every Sunday, come hell or high water, we’d be sitting in the second pew on the east side of church at 8:15am on the dot. Then I was certain we’d come home and be handed a sock and some Pledge to dust our bedrooms from top to bottom. Good times.

Finally, I was certain that every Monday night, around 5:30 or so, I’d have a big plate of piping hot spaghetti sitting in front of me. "Sewer pipes" (rigatoni) for my Dad and angel hair pasta for my Mom, brothers and me, all topped with Ragu ground beef sauce.

Spaghetti night!

It’s this certainty, or tradition, that I wanted to start incorporating into life at the IGE household. I pitched the idea to Ben.

IGE: "Babe wouldn’t if be fun to start having spaghetti night once a week?!"

IBE: "Hmmmm, ehhhhh, I don’t…"

IGE: "I’ll put ground beef the sauce! A whole pound for 1 jar!"

IBE: "Could you put in 2 pounds?!"

IGE: "Babe, I am not putting 2 pounds of ground beef in 1 jar of sauce. That’s just disgus…you know what, just forget it."

IBE: "What about BBQ Chicken Quesadilla night every week??"

IGE: "The last time I tried to make those 2 weeks in a row you said the only thing you could eat that often were gummy bears."

IBE: "Oh yeah."

IGE: "Hmmmm…I still want to do something once a week."

IBE: "Hey, how about we try something new from Trader Joe’s every week!?"

IGE: "BINGO! I knew I married you for a reason!"

IBE: :mrgreen:

Thus, Trader Joe’s Night was born! :D

We thought Trader Joe’s Tuesday’s had a nice ring to it, but agreed that Thursday’s would be better because their food is so easy to prepare and often times we’re looking for a quick fix meal late in the week.

Then Ben made the point that it’s sometimes fun to have beer with dinner on Thursdays and beer goes great with Trader Joe’s food. The logic makes sense. Just re-read that paragraph a couple times. ;)

We kicked off the weekly event with something I’ve been eyeing since our local TJ’s opened a couple months ago – fresh, Prosciutto-Stuffed Pasta Purses & Arancini Bites!


These babies are fresh pasta "purses" filled with salty prosciutto, herbs and other mouth-watering spices.


They’re SO CUTE.




They take TWO minutes to boil in salted water, before they get nice and plump and the filling warms up.


On the burner next door, I had some Gino’s Marinara Sauce warming up to top my purses. Are you seeing how easy and convenient this dinner is?


Ben and I split the package, which was MORE than enough, and we both gooooobbled. The pasta was perfectly chewy and the inside was savory and salty. YUMMY! The Gino’s obviously got a 10 out of 10, and we both gave the pasta a 7 out of 10. It gave us permission to try the other various types of fresh pastas TJ’s offers. Including their LOBSTER ravioli. Hell-o!


To supplement, I made a box of Arancini Bites.


Now, Ben and I had REAL homemade Arancini Bites in Italy this Fall (see pic below,) so we knew these babies were up against some STIFF competition.

FYI – arancini balls are basically leftover risotto that’s been mixed with whatever you have on hand, stuffed with cheese, rolled in bread crumbs than cooked.


10 minutes in the oven and we were golden!


Ummmm – these were INSANE. 11 out of 10!


Ok, I got impatient (we were both starving tonight!) and took them out a little early, so the cheese in this picture isn’t tooootally melted.


We popped them back in for a minute or two, and they were perfect! Crunchy outside, creamy inside and gooey in the center. AWESOME!!!!


I’m loving this tradition already, and I’m certain that it will be a night to look forward to every single week. :)


Off to go watch "our shows" – NBC is all new tonight! See you!


What were you certain of growing up?

Do you have a "_____ night" at your house? What is it?

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  1. Lauryn 01.20.2011

    Kristin you crack me up!! My parents made me finish allllll my milk too!! I cannot stand milk that is ice cold…to this DAY I still feel guilty pouring milk down the sink!!! Soo funny! Anyways I was always certain that every friday night my mom would bring us home either a happy meal or pizza. Something quick and we always looked foward to it b/c we hardly ever got to eat out!! So..of course Fridays are still my fave day of the week. ;) I love your blog, i dont comment often but I read it like, everyday!

  2. I loved this post! I love IBE. I want to start a TJTh in my house too!!!!!

  3. Trader Joe’s night is genius! I wish we lived closer to one! So smart!

  4. I love your idea! I have a TJs cookbook and last week, I told my husband that I am making a new recipe from it every week. TJs is the best! When I was growing up, I was certain that we’d have pizza every Friday. It was an awesome thing to look forward to during the week. My parents STILL do it now!

  5. Ah, I love Trader Joe’s! We only do our grocery shopping there – we’re so loyal! We have a tradition of doing pizza from TJ’s on Friday nights. It’s fun!

  6. TJ’S NIGHT IS THE BEST IDEA EVER! I can’t wait to implement that when I’m married. In like 10 years.
    And growing up we actually never had a “night”…strange family. My mom just cooked on a whim!

  7. Kath 01.20.2011

    When our girls were little (they’re now 23 and 25), they would occasionally complain about my choice for dinner. So I started “Kids’ Night”. It was a weeknight, Tuesdays, I think. Each week one of them got to choose the dinner menu. They took turns. The only rule? It had to be something healthy…and real dinner food.

    It was fun. They loved Kids’ Night! I’d forgotten about it…thanks for the memory! :)

  8. Krissy Murphy 01.20.2011

    This meal looks SOOO yum! TJ night is such a good idea! And IBE is just like my hubs about the beer (I guess it makes sense, as my hubs *IS* an Iowa boy!)

    For better or worse, Fridays have unofficially become ‘going out’ nights =) We’re still new in our city (Charlottesville, VA!) and there are literally so many great places to try – and it’s a college town so we’re not dropping the big bucks!! =)

  9. Ha ha : ) I really liked how you shared your husband and wife dialogue. Aren’t those the greatest?

    Trader Joe’s night is a great idea. For my hubby and I, we usually spring for pizza on Sunday nights. For some reason, it always sounds great that day! No complaints here though…pizza is one of my very favorite foods of all time!

    Happy (almost) Friday!

  10. I need to get those at TJ’s next time I go!

  11. erica 01.20.2011

    i was certain that i’d have milk everynight w/dinner. and i had to drink it all. and even w/that i ended up with super low bone density. go figure.

  12. Amanda 01.20.2011

    i had TJ’s lobster ravioli tonight for dinner! theyre pretty thin(not a lot of filling) compared to some of the other tj’s pastas but yuuuum!

  13. Rachel 01.20.2011

    I want those rice balls NOW. omg they look so good. Trader Joes night is seriously a great idea for dinner ideas!

  14. Ashley 01.20.2011

    My Mom always made me drink my milk too. We didn’t really have certain nights for certain foods, although pizza is a good Friday night dinner! My Wednesdays were always very busy so when I was little, my Mom would pick me up from school to go to piano lessons – she always had hot popcorn, apples and caramel sauce for me to munch on the way there! It’s still one of my favorite snacks!

  15. Lauren 01.20.2011

    I LOVE the idea of Trader Joe Night. We have BFD (breakfast for dinner) every Wednesday. Love the themed dinners, it really gives you something to look forward to.

    Rats, I passed on those little balls last time I was at TJs. Now I know for next time. ;)

  16. mary e 01.20.2011

    i grab little caesar’s for my hubby and me on my way home every monday as i work until 7:30 monday nights. i almost wish my parents had been more strict with “cleaning our plates” because i grew up to be an insanely picky eater…..that is, until i picked up this cooking hobby courtesy of awesome blogs like yours! speaking of traditions, whenever my husband goes out of town, we always go to the same italian restaurant and get arancini as our appetizer! SO GOOD!

  17. Courtney 01.20.2011

    I LOVE prosciutto! It feels so fancy eating it! I bet those little twists were delicious!

  18. We have a homemade pizza night every Friday.

    We try to have pasta night once a week, but it doesn’t always happen. Our sauce is homemade and it has to simmer for a couple hours to get the total flavor! :)

    I love the idea of a TJ’s night! Especially on a Thursday. :)

  19. Courtney 01.20.2011

    PS. I read “IBE” as “Iowa Ben Eats”!

  20. Daisy 01.20.2011

    new traditions are SO FUN! i heart the IGE/IBE convo.

  21. Stephanie 01.20.2011

    We do Jason’s Deli once a week (usually on Sundays)! Trader Joe’s night is pretty genius. :) You guys are so cute.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.23.2011

      I have YET to eat at Jason’s Deli and it’s been in town for at least 10 years now!!!

  22. Kim 01.20.2011

    We always ordered pizza on Friday nights. TJs night is brilliant! I had their spinach and ricotta ravioli tonight for dinner with Gino’s marina and we had the lobster ravioli a couple of weeks ago – delicious!!!!

  23. Stacie 01.20.2011

    I was certain that EVERY Friday night, my parents would go to the supper club in the small town near us. It was called The Chapparell and when I was little I went along. I spent many Friday nights sleeping at the bar while mom and dad visited with their friends until late into the evening. I always got to have a Shirley Temple drink and wagon wheels (which were yummy fried dough like things). As I got older I was allowed to go or stay home, but still often chose to go. I remember that I tried frog legs there and even liked them. In our home now, I don’t cook on Sunday nights, so we usually have popcorn, pop and pizza or nachos. The kids love it and so do I since I don’t have to cook!

  24. Teresa 01.20.2011

    Trader Joe’s is OK, but to be honest, I don’t really get your fascination with the store. Kind of wish you’d stop giving them free advertising. Sorry to be critical; I’m just not interesting in reading about Trader Joe’s every week (or day).

    • Lauryn 01.21.2011

      Well Teresa,
      Dont get offended by this, but to be honest MOST of us LOVE trader Joes and love reading Kristin’s blog. That is why we read it. So I suggest if you dont like reading about Trader Joes, go read another blog. Dont try to ruin it for the rest of us. Thanks

      • April 01.21.2011

        I agree Lauryn. I love reading honest reviews on their products before I buy them. There are things such as butternut squash that I am not a fan of but someone else is. What right do I have to say what Kristin should write on HER blog. Keep up the posts Kristin, my boyfriend loves eating all the recipes I get from you!!

        • Renee 01.21.2011

          I LOVE this blog!!! And Kristin is so entertaining and has such wit and such an endearing way of saying things. Not to mention outrageously wonderful recipes!!!! I totally adore the pesto chicken pizza!! Now, my husband wants that at least once a week. I LOVE that she is health oriented also. And Teresa, bless your heart, my Mom always told me this and it is good advice; If you can’t say anything nice, then just don’t say anything. Have a great day!!!

  25. I love your new tradition. We had spaghetti, night too! My brother wasn’t too happy about it:)

  26. Claire 01.20.2011

    Before my boyfriend and I moved in together, we had “date night” every Thursday. I’d go to his apartment and we’d open a bottle of wine and make a nice dinner. Even though we now live together – and have been for 2 years – we still have Thursday night date night. Whatever keeps the romance alive ;)

  27. Machelle 01.20.2011

    Hmmm…I don’t recall a special food nite, altho we did all watch HeeHaw on whatever nite it was always on! Ha!

  28. Cari 01.20.2011

    Friday nights were always homemade pizza nights growing up (and also the one night a week our parents allowed us to drink pop). I really didn’t appreciate it at the time, but my Dad seriously makes the best homemade pizza (the dough is homemade!) I love it when he makes it when I visit.

  29. Amber 01.20.2011

    Mwhwhahahahaa, that comment about the milk made me laugh! I CANNOT drink milk unless it’s ice cold! Warm milk, blech!

  30. Nichole 01.20.2011

    I love Trader Joe’s. I think a Trader Joe’s night is a good idea…if only I could get the bf on board. lol.

    And the Perline Pasta & Prosciutto is pretty tasty. I’ve had it a few times…Just wish it had a little more punch to it.

    I have to tell you I love your blog (semi-new reader), and am planning on trying a few of your recipes for Super Bowl.

  31. Jane 01.20.2011

    How great, wish we had a TJ’s here! The closest one is 150 miles away :( When I was really young, I could count on my Dad bringing home Pizza Hut or a bucket from KFC, each Friday! When I was a little older we owned a family restaurant , so we usually ate something from there. But every Sunday we were closed and we would make a trip to Wichita to get supplies from Sam’s Club. He would drop us off at the mall, or Wal-Mart :)

  32. Lindsey 01.20.2011

    Room temp milk is by far the worst taste ever! I used to have to drink milk growing up, and there were many nights I had to drink room temp milk because I wouldn’t drink it fast enough during dinner :-P

    Trader Joe’s night is such a great idea! Growing up, Friday nights were pizza nights and if it was a busy night/if my Mom didn’t want to cook, we’d get breakfast for dinner (my fave!).

  33. love that tradition!

  34. Bridget 01.20.2011

    Fun! Friday night was typically pizza night at our house. Now that I have my own house we tried taco Tuesday but the kids got tired of it–so did mom and dad. :) We do popcorn and a movie either Friday or Saturday night! That’s always a fun tradition.

  35. I really enjoyed this post! When I was young, I was certain that my dad would always have to go to back into the hospital (he’s a doctor) on Christmas Eve. Later I’d realize he was actually Santa! I was certain that me and my sister could watch every marathon of Nick n’ Nite in the summer. Each day was a different show. I was certain that I’d always protect my little brother from the bullies. :) Honestly, great post. I wish my boyfriend and I had some type of ____ night. If only we could move in together soon! Hopefully in a year!

  36. Hope 01.21.2011

    I LOVE this idea! I think it is so cute! I totally want to have a themed night in my house. I think it would give something to look forward to every week! I love that! :)

  37. Friday night is “naughty” night in our house–I make something indulgent for dinner, we go out to eat, or we have desert (or we eat something indulgent and have desert!). It keeps me sane! I love eating healthy the rest of the week, but to know that we can have anything we want one night a week makes me feel like I’m not at all deprived.

  38. Emily 01.21.2011

    Unfortunately my sig-other travels about 3 nights a week. So when he’s home I get excited just to cook a real dinner. But we’re always excited about trying a new TJ product. Those cheese balls are phenom!!!!! I’m going to have to pick up that pasta…looks delicious!

  39. That looks SO good!

    When I was young, we had pizza & movie night every Friday. My mom would order domino’s pizza and we could pick out 2 movies from blockbuster. We even got to sleep on the pull out couch so we could watch the TV from there. It was the best night of the week :)

  40. Mimi 01.21.2011

    I loved all the NBC shows last night! I’m really catching on to The Community!

  41. Emily 01.21.2011

    I think every night is TJs night at our house! The arancini looks fantastic – though I like making it at home with leftover orzo or rice. The only tradition we have is to try to do a date night once a week. No set day, no set agenda, just a night with the hubs!

  42. Miranda 01.21.2011

    That looks amazing! I was on TJ’s website the other day and saw they are building to in Kansas City, grants KC is still 3 hours away from me, but at least when I do manage to get up there I can finally see a TJ’s!!

    During the summer we often do Thursday night grilled hamburgers. But during the winter that slides since I don’t really like fried as well as grilled, and since I do the cooking, it’s all about what I like LOL :)
    BTW, I tagged you over on my blog!

  43. Dawn Patricia 01.21.2011

    I can’t even stop laughing over the gummy bear quote!!! Sounds like my husband with his Juju Fruit! We had the same meal rotation going on at our house when I was growing up: meatloaf, Willow Tree Chicken or Turkey Pie (people from New England probably know what I’m talking about), pork chops in brown gravy, spaghetti with meat sauce, and baked fish. My mom was pretty much a three ingredient, pop it in the oven kinda gal, the chicken pie was frozen, and she used *gasp* SO MUCH CAMPBELL’S!!! Needless to say, I’m still not a huge fan of those particular dishes (except for the chicken pie as it’s SO expensive these days and not exactly low-fat, I have that maybe 1-2x a year when I need some good comfort food)…

  44. Marina 01.21.2011

    I love traditions like that. For now, I still don’t have any, but once I’ll have kids, I’ll definitely use those ideas like Friday night treat from your dad!

  45. Jill 01.21.2011

    Growing up, Friday nights we always had pizza (take out or frozen) and root beer, and we would watch TGIF! We were never allowed to eat in front of the TV Saturday-Thursday, but were allowed to on Fridays. I still have pizza every other week or so on a Friday night…its such an easy way to end the work week!

    • Kristin from MN 01.21.2011

      LOL! We watched TGIF on Friday nights too! Full House was my fave! And we were allowed 1 pop on Friday nights only!

  46. Kristin from MN 01.21.2011

    That food looks SO YUMMY! I can’t wait to get to TJ’s and get some of those Arancini Bites! How do you pronounce arancini? arrahnseenee?
    Friday night was Pizza Hut night when I was a kid. It was my dad’s favorite pizza! All four kids and my ‘rents would drive 20 miles to the nearest Pizza Hut every Friday night. I’m still rather tired of Pizza Hut to this day, but it’s still my dad’s favorite and now he brings my son there! :)

  47. AlisonP 01.21.2011

    Love that you have a Trader Joe’s near you now because you seem to be more adventurous than me. I saw those Arancini Bites last week and said, “hmmmm, I wonder…” and then I kept walking, but now I know I HAVE to have them in my life! YUM!

  48. Ashley 01.21.2011

    Why is there not a TJ close to me!?!?! AHhhhhhhh!

  49. Our tradition was one night a week (it could be random) of Fin For Yourself dinner. Mom wasn’t cooking and didn’t care what we ate as long as we did it ourself. So most times cereal it was and we LOVED it!

  50. “Babe, I am not putting 2 pounds of ground beef in 1 jar of sauce. That’s just disgus…you know what, just forget it.”

    hahaha this just made my day :)

    im gonna start up a tradition. we used to have taco night but when my brothers left home, so did the taco night haha. definitely wanna bring something like that back :)


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